Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
Before high-speed internet and digital music and movies, it wasn’t uncommon for people to spend thousands of dollars to build a DVD and CD collection.
But with today’s options for online streaming and on-demand content, the need for physical media has fallen by the wayside as simpler and cheaper versions for watching your favorite movies and shows emerge.
In the age of Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, here are a few options to capitalize on your old, dusty movie and music collections.
I do most of my shopping on Amazon, so an Amazon gift card is as good as cash for me. While you may not get the best value out of the program, Amazon Trade-In is the easiest way I’ve come across to sell my DVD collection. I once sent two boxes of DVDs to Amazon and got about $200 in gift card credit credited to my account.
The process is simple. Go to the Amazon Trade-In website and make a list of the films you would like to submit. The search function is not great and many items are not eligible.
Make a list for your Amazon trade-in, put everything in a box, print a free shipping label, and drop off at any UPS store. I’ve made anywhere from 7 cents to over $20 for each of my films, depending on the item and condition.
If you have a lot of valuable CDs and movies, you can sell them individually in a store, but you’re responsible for shipping and Amazon takes a cut.
Decluttr is a service solely for trading your old stuff. On the media side, Decluttr accepts CDs, DVDs, games, and books. It also takes used phones, tablets, laptops, game consoles, e-readers, smartwatches and other devices.
You can download Decluttr app to create a sales list using your phone’s camera as a barcode scanner. You pack your items and Decluttr covers the shipping costs. Upon receipt, you will be paid the next day.
Payments are made by direct deposit into your bank account, PayPal or a paper check in the mail. However you choose to get paid, you end up with more money and less stuff at the end of the process.
The most popular online destination for collectibles is eBay. As our old film and music collections become collectible, eBay is another great option to offload your discs.
Unlike Amazon, where you can submit everything at once, eBay is a one-item-at-a-time offering. Also, eBay requires you to add each item individually, which can be a very time-consuming task. But on the other hand, when an item sells, you get cash in your pocket. After eBay and shipping costs, that might not be much, but it’s better than nothing. It’s also probably more than you’d get from an Amazon trade-in.
A local record store
Video may have killed the radio star, but record stores still thrive in major cities across the country. While it may not be Rex Manning Day when you stop by, you can still find the Empire Records experience, along with the opportunity to sell your used films and CDs at a used record store.
Your results may vary in terms of what they are willing to pay and what films and records they want to take from you, but this is your best option for raising cash for your collection outside of online selling options.
Donation for a tax write-off
If this all sounds like way too much work and you’d rather give away your old movies and albums in exchange for a donation, you can still earn some back by filing your taxes.
If you file your taxes using the individual deduction method, you can donate your collection to an organization and receive a tax break. The nonprofit organization can resell the disks to fund its mission, and your Adjusted Gross Income will decrease by the value of the disks. For most Americans, you can save 25% or 28% of the value donated.
The death of the DVD
When I want to hear a song, I just say «OK, Google» and it starts. When I want to watch a movie, I open an app on my phone and press play. Most of my friends don’t even have DVD players anymore.
The decision to sell my expensive, somewhat sentimental DVD collection was not an easy one, but I have less clutter, more money, and can still watch any movie or show I want, anytime. In fact, it’s even easier because I don’t have to put a disk in the player!
For better or worse, hard drives are out and streaming is in. The longer you wait, the less valuable they become. 2022 could be the year to trade in your old collections and step into the world of streaming for good.
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